First Edition, First Issue of the Novel that Helped Spark the Civil WarHarriet Beecher Stowe. Uncle Tom's Cabin; or Life Among the Lowly. Boston: John P. Jewett & Company, 1852.
First edition, first issue. Two twelvemo volumes. 312, 322 pages. Engraved vignettes on the title page of each volume.
Publisher's gilt and blind-stamped brown cloth, re-cased with the original cloth laid-down, and preserving the original endpapers. Moderately worn bindings with bumped corners. Both volumes slightly cocked. Faint signs of removal of a personal bookplate on the pastedowns. Contemporary ownership signatures dated April 1852 on the free endpapers. Minimal scattered foxing. A very good copy of the landmark novel of 18th-century American literature.
"In the emotion-charged atmosphere of mid-nineteenth-century America Uncle Tom's Cabin exploded like a bombshell. To those engaged in fighting slavery it appeared as an indictment of all the evils inherent in the system they opposed; to the pro-slavery forces, it was a slanderous attack on 'the Southern way of life.'... Whatever its weaknesses as a literary work - structural looseness and excess of sentiment among them - the social impact of Uncle Tom's Cabin on the United States was greater than that of any book before or since." (Printing and the Mind of Man, Second edition, p. 202-203)
The first printing of Uncle Tom's Cabin consisted of 5,000 copies, of which 3,000 were sold in one day. And according to legend, when Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe toward the start of the Civil War in 1862, he remarked to her regarding Uncle Tom's Cabin, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this Great War!"
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